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Some people argue about what is the greatest invention. There are many great ones, and one of them is the TV. The notion that one watches the world through the TV is true. One can travel from country to country by changing channels or by inserting different videos and DVDs. TV watching has become a pastime for all to enjoy. Whether it is family videos or just watching the favorite programs together, the TV is the center of many homes. Most stores only carry certain name brands and styles. Online, however, every name brand and style is offered to you.

Speaking of style, the time has come to grab hold of the newest invention and upgrade with Tivo. Tivo allows one to digitally record the programs using a menu interface operated via remote control. Fast forward through the commercials. One can record the children's favorite shows and watch them at anytime, and one can record the soap operas that play during the day to watch them at night. The convenience of watching the program at anytime is priceless.

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Watching The 24 TV Series In The African Bush
Sunday, December 31, 2006

This is probably the most powerful TV series that has ever been produced and this was confirmed when the nail biting 24 TV series won an Oscar award this year as best TV program at the annual awards that honors cinema along with movie stars, producers and directors.

There is no secret agent like Jack Bauer who uses all methods including the unorthodox to bring down terrorists who are constantly threatening the security of the United States without knowing that there exists an efficient counter terrorism unit popularly known as CTU.

It all started with an Arab terrorist plot to smuggle a nuke into the states and at the same time assassinate the president with the help of rogue agents at the CTU including one Linda Myer.

As usual Jack whose real name is Kieffer Sutherland was to get to the bottom of it and manages to save the United States from radiation emitted by the nuke by flying the plane into the dessert where it detonated but not before he parachutes to safety and lets his boss fly the remaining distance since he was going to die anyway from a terminal illness.

Fortunately again Jack manages to save the presidents' life but not before killing some of the terrorists who had infiltrated CTU where all employees at one point turned paranoid and could not trust each other.

The series also threw in a lot of action and suspense especially involving the glamorous daughter of Jack, Kim Bauer who seemed to be in danger at every turn let alone the bad company she usually came across.

Then came the second season where Jack was back at what he does best but this time it was a British terrorist formerly with the special forces who had got hold of a deadly biological weapon which he intended to unleash in California .

The terrorists plans were going on well till the master minders' daughter was kidnapped in a bid to force him out which worked but not before the terrorists divided the bio weapon among several of their agents in different places.

Again it was Jacks ingenuity that made the master mind reveal where the rest of the vials were when he threatened to expose the villains' daughter to the virus which had been unleashed at a local hotel in California.

This episodes exposed the cruelty of the terrorists who went as far as kidnapping the wife of the CTU boss in a bid to arm twist him so he could issue orders that could facilitate his escape from a building that he had been cornered.

Then the Arab terrorists returned in the next season this time kidnapping the united states secretary of defense who was to be tried and executed for alleged crimes he had committed against the Arabs.

It was just when the government was about to bomb the area where the trial was to take place when jack appeared at the scene and staged a daring rescue mission and saved the defense secretary to the chagrin of the Arabs who were killed in the ensuing fire fight.
24 has proved to be a winner the world over and in Kenya where it appears every Monday at 8 pm on the Kenya television network (KTN), thousands of people get home early to catch up with the latest developments.

For the privileged in Africa who can afford pay TV, they are one season ahead on the digital satellite TV channel that covers the whole of Africa, popularly known as DSTV which is based in South Africa but is available in most parts of the continent and has became extremely popular over the years due to its exciting programming including the 24 series.

On DSTV, the plot is even thicker, this time round as it involves Russian terrorists who are in procession of nerve gas and at the same time want to assassinate their president before he signs an agreement with his American counterpart.

The start is even more dramatic with the assassination of president Palmer by a sniper who is across the building. This happens at a time when the whereabouts of Jack Bauer are not clear not to mention that most of his friends and professional colleagues believe that he is dead.

It is also re-assuring to the viewers that Mr Bauer (Kieffer Sutherland) has started directing the series of late and he is doing an excellent job so far.

The End Of The VCR?
Saturday, March 25, 2006

Written by James Fohl

Around this time last year, I was talking about how I still used my VCR pretty much every day. You see, a year ago I could still go to my local Wal-Mart, and find a lot of VHS movies for around six dollars each. These were not older movies either, they were some what new releases. I bought a bunch of these video tapes, because the DVD versions of the same films were around ten dollars more.

Here I am a year later, and well a lot has changed. First off, it seems that I can not find new movies in the VHS format anywhere. The small selection of VHS video tapes my Wal-Mart had is now gone; replaced with yet another rack of DVD movies. Another thing that has changed is the fact that while last year, my Wal-Mart had three different VCR decks, I was completely shocked when I noticed that there were no VCR decks; only a couple combination DVD / VCR decks.

But then again, a lot has changed in my house too. My VCR is not even hooked up to my television right now, mostly due to the fact that new movies are not released in the VHS format anymore. Not only that, but I do not even have to use my VCR to record my favorite television shows anymore.

Instead of using a VCR to record my favorite television shows now, I either just buy from online from the iTunes music store for a modest two dollar fee, or I use my new DVD recorder to record the shows onto inexpensive DVD-R discs. A lot of people think it is kind of stupid to buy a television show from the iTunes music store for a couple of dollars, but I have to disagree for a variety of reasons.

Topping the list is convenience. All I have to do is start up the iTunes computer program, search for the television show, and with a couple ofclicks I am watching the show. If I choose to record the show to a DVD recordable disc, I have to mess with all the settings of the DVD recorder, and make sure I have a blank disc available. In the end, it just seems that the two dollar iTunes solution is much easier.

I still have my VHS video collection; probably over a hundred tapes now. I do not know exactly what I am going to do with these tapes though. I have not watched any for a couple of months now, and those new DVD rental services allow me to watch all the new movies I could want for the price of one DVD a month. So, instead of buying new movies on the DVD format, and since I can no longer buy new movies on the old VHS format, I simply go online to the Net Flix website, find the movies I want to see, and a couple days later I am watching the movies on my DVD

Since I can keep the movies as long as I want, I am not rushed in to watching the DVDs, and ultimately it is kind of like I own the movies, since I usually only ever watch a movie once or twice (which is oddly enough the reason why I have not touched my VHS video collection for a couple of months).

Yes, it seems very odd that just a year ago I was bragging about how I preferred the old VHS video format over the DVD format. But, in a mere year all sorts of things have changed. I can no longer go out and purchase new movies for six dollars in the VHS format; heck, I can't even go out and purchase any newly released movie in the VHS format. Not only that, but instead of recording my favorite television shows on bulky, cheap VHS tapes, I have several options that I now use. In the end, I really do not use my VCR anymore for anything.

I want to say that I am going to start getting attached to my DVD player, but with the new HD DVD and Bluray formats coming from around the corner, I guess it is safe to say that the DVD format will probably also slowly start to fade in the next year or so. In the end, all I can say is goodbye VCR, you were great for so many years.

Information About The New HD DVD Format
Monday, March 20, 2006

Written by James Fohl

Do you remember those old VHS tapes? Of course you did; for over twenty years, pretty much every Hollywood movie was released on this format. Then the DVD format came out in the mid 1990's, and although it took some time to take control of the United States market, by the year 2003 new movies were only being released on the DVD format.

It has not even been ten years since the first DVD players were released, but already the DVD format is getting ready to retire. It is not because its a faulty format, it is just because every body seems to be adopting high definition television sets, and the current DVD format does not really take full advantage of the high definition television sets.

As a result, a couple of new technologies are starting to emerge with the ultimate goal of taking over the DVD format, and becoming the video format kind. One of these new video formats is something called HD DVD, or High Definition DVD.

Don't think that just because the new format has DVD in the title that you will be able to use your regular DVD player to watch new HD DVD movies. You will need a new HD DVD player, and because they are such a new technology they are not going to be cheap; the first HD DVD players, made by Toshiba are going to be priced between five and eight hundred dollars.

Getting back on the subject, new HD DVD discs are the same size as regular DVDs and CDs. The only difference is the way that the data is written to the disc. Instead of holding 4.7 gigabytes of data like a regular DVD, HD DVDs can hold fifteen to thirty gigabytes of data on a single disc. While this may sound like a lot, it is important to consider the fact that high definition movies require more storage space as opposed to older DVDs; as a direct result, a regular high definition DVD can store around four hours of video, while a dual layer disc has the ability to hold around eight hours of video, or a standard Hollywood move along with several hours of bonus materials.

The very first home HD DVD players will be released near the end of March, and various model will retail for $599 and $799. The first batch of HD DVD movies are supposed to be on sale at the same time at a retail price of around twenty nine dollars. Companies supporting the new HD DVD format are trying to get the players and movies out the door as quick as possible, in hopes of gaining a large market share even before the first Bluray players are released. One of the major problems is the fact that a lot of movie studios are having problems getting their movies in the HD DVD format in time for the launch of the HD DVD players. As a result, there are not going to be as many titles available as once thought.

The competition between Bluray and the HD DVD format is starting to heat up. Hardware companies every where are pledging to support one format over another, while movie studios are being pressured to only release movies on one format. Because HD DVD players are going to be available long before Bluray players make it to the market, many people are considering HD DVD to be the number one format, even though HD DVD is considered to be technologically inferior to the Bluray format.

Being technologically inferior really does not matter though in the world of video entertainment. Betamax delivered a better picture over the VHS format that it had competed against in the early eighties, but VHS was still able to win that media war. VHS also fought against the LaserDisc in the eighties, which was superior in a vast variety of ways, but VHS still came out on top.

If the players behind HD DVD are able to market the HD DVD players correctly, then chances are they have a relatively high chance of winning the high definition video war against the Bluray format.

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